It’s good news that Goa is a rabies controlled State in the county with not a single case detected since 2017.
Animal lovers, however, have a word of caution against lowering guard, with cases of rabies detected in the border States of Maharashtra and Karnataka.
In fact, animal lovers have insisted that they only way to protect State’s dog population is continuous vaccination till the borders are secured, warning “otherwise, all the money and efforts that have gone in achieving the status of rabies free State will go to waste. There ought to be no room for complacency”.
“We should not hold the attitude that Goa is a rabies control state and that we are safe. The border areas are a cause for concern. Recently, Mission rabies have started the drive in the border areas of Maharashtra and Karnataka and we have already come across 11 rabies positive cases”, informed Dr Murugan Appupillai, Director, Education, Mission Rabies at the special vaccination centre at the Holy Spirit Church ground, Margao on Tuesday.
He added: “We have a large population of stray dogs. They don’t have the rabies virus, unless somebody gets it inside from the across the border. When we secure our borders it would all be fine”.
Murugan said dog population is not vaccinated in the United Kingdom for the simple reason that the entire country is rabies free. Till the time Goa state and the two neighbouring States are secured, we have to keep on vaccinating the stray dogs”.
Murugan said Mission Rabies have intensified the surveillance in the border talukas of Goa by vaccinating the stray dogs and owner dogs within the State and the neighbouring States. “We have even put a system in place in the border talukas to ascertain whether the rabies is local or is akin to Maharashtra or Karnataka. Besides, we have a dog tracking mechanism in the border talukas. Sensors have been put up on the trees in the border areas. These sensors record every time a dog is crossing the border and whether the dog have migrated permanently or temporarily in the border areas”, he said.
Saying Goa has a porous border, wherein the canines can walk into the state anytime, he said that work is going on to practically seal the border through surveillance.
Project Manager, Mission Rabies, Julie Corfmart pointed Goa has not reported any rabies related human death since September 2017. “When we had started the initiative in the State, we had come across rabid dogs. Now, rapid dogs are in the border area”, she said, while stressing on the need to take up vaccination in the border hinterland talukas including Bicholim, Sattari, Canacona etc.
District Collector, South Jyoti Kumari complimented the team of Mission Rabies and the department of Animal Husbandry for achieving Goa the status of Rabies control state. “It is great to hear that Goa has
come to a stage where there is no rabies amongst the indigenous dog population. Our concentration is now in the border areas”, she said.
Saying the time has now come to build on the gains in rabies control, the Collector urged animal lovers who have been involved in the work with passion and dedication “Help the people to vaccinate their dogs and reach out to the community dogs as well”, she added.
Director of Animal Husbandry Agostinho Mesquita appreciated the work carried out by the Mission Rabies.